Prof Raja Shekar Patteti, Department of English, Acharya Nagarjuna University is scheduled to host a UGC Global Seminar on ‘Exploring the Cultural & Literary Nationalism of the Fourth World (Natives/Aboriginals/Dalits)’ from December 14-16, 2012 at Acharya Nagarjuna University itself. As part of this Global Seminar, I’m scheduled to present a paper on ‘Dalit Christians: An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective’. The abstract is as follows.
An Examination from Liberal Secular Democratic Perspective
Dalits are part of various discriminative circumstances, and victims of various atrocities too against them from the times immemorial in India and the Indian sub-continent. In order to escape this caste and related discriminations and atrocities against them, they converted to various religions, through-out their history. Especially they converted en-mass to religions like Islam and Christianity, with a wish to escape Hindu religion’s ritual degradation/pollution. But, contrary to their wishes and expectations; caste followed them as a shadow in these religions too. Dalits of non-Hindu background are regarded as Dalits only, even after their conversion and recognized as Dalit-Sikhs/Dalit-Muslims/Dalit-Buddhists/Dalit-Christians, etc. Though there is a kind of degree of change after conversion to non-Hindu religions in their lives; that change was not satisfactory enough in mitigating their better livelihood. At the most, the intensity of atrocities and discrimination changed from Hindu religion to non-Hindu religions after conversion. The present paper highlights the discriminations faced by the Dalit Christians, in various forms, especially; one – within the Indian Church, two – by the Indian State and three – in the wider Indian Society. And, specifically links to the political and nationalist agendas of the Hindutva forces like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allied forces like Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), etc, which are vehemently opposing the Dalits religious rights. Moreover, this paper attempts to expose shallow secular fabric of the Indian State, especially by critiquing the Indian secular political discourse from liberal secular democratic front.